Fayetteville In 2009, the Fayetteville Memory Garden began as a vision for Rachael Ristau, who graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School this spring. This past Saturday Ristau and the rest of the community came together to see a finished project.
“I am proud to tell you today, the garden you stand in today is a physical reality of courage,” Ristau told community members gathered at the garden, located next to the senior center on East Genesee Street. “Most importantly it was built with the hope and is a reminder that we are all fighting a different battle.”
The design of the bricks within the garden is in the shape of a ribbon to symbolize bravery and courage, for those going through a difficult stage in their lives.
“The Fayetteville Memory Garden offers a special place for peace where it’s okay to cry, grieve and be happy too,” Ristau said.
Mayor Mark Olson expressed his pride over the final outcome of the Fayetteville Memory Garden. He said he was pleased with the sight of reflection for the Fayetteville community, and believes it will bring the community closer together.
“The village of Fayetteville is a special community,” he said. “It’s special because we are a community that does not say no. Most communities would have said when Rachael walked in, ‘That’s a lot of money, probably not going to happen, maybe next year or some other time,’ but not this community. This community says we can do it, and they did.”
Ristau, with help from the F-M community members, fundraised an estimated $90,000 over 17 months to create the garden. For her achievement, she was presented with the Gold Seal Resolution award by Kevin Holmquist on behalf of the Onondaga Chamber of Commerce.
Adrianna Kam is an intern with Eagle Newspapers. A freshman at Syracuse University, Adrianna graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School this past spring.